As bees start to emerge from their winter hibernation, many solitary bees will begin to search out places to raise their young. Many tend to dig tunnels in sandy soils, while others nest in cavities within trees, or in the soft ends of bramble canes. Here's a lovely bee by the name of Osmia bicolor. Found throughout Southern England and Wales, this bee takes advantage of snail shells, taking the time to position them just so. Pollen and pebbles are then partitioned into the shell to provide food, and protection for the developing larvae. The shell is then camouflaged with grasses and leaves. This wonderful post is accompanied by a beautiful video of O. bicolor in action.
What makes these little bees so captivating is where they make their nests. They repurpose empty snail shells, belonging to a small group of bees known as “helicophiles” (snail-lovers). As a single mom, letting a snail do all the construction work for a home seems much more sensible than building your own from scratch.